System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: February 8, 2018
Publisher: Good Shepard Entertainment
With all of the great first-party games released for the Switch since its release, it’s easy to forget the waves and waves of fantastic indie games that are filling up the eShop. ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is the latest title to enter the floodgates of the Switch, and it’s safe to say that the system’s streak of hits is still chugging along.
The main objective in ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is to travel across tunnels filled with barriers and enemies while collecting as many “atomiks” as you can bag. The screen is constantly and speedily scrolling, and the final twist is that you have just one tool in your arsenal. You’ll use a powerful gun that both propels you forward and obliterates anything in your way. However, these uses are exclusive, and only one can be used at a time. You can either shoot behind you to keep moving along with the screen, or you have to temporarily halt your progress to destroy what’s blocking your path. This tasks you with finding the perfect rhythm to stay in sync with the pace of the game, and before you even know it, you might just feel like you are playing a rhythm game.
Surprisingly, the game is intensely challenging, and the more you dive into it the more you fall into the “just one more try” mindset. The levels are organized by being little challenges that are stringed together and played in quick succession which makes it easy to just pick up and spend a little bit with – perfect for the Switch. Levels start out basic, but developer ThirtyThree did a really great job of progressively increasing the difficulty and throwing new challenges your way. Within minutes of mastering a concept, you’ll be introduced to a new gimmick you must conquer. Avoiding spikes will take up most of the challenge in the first few minutes, but by the end of your journey you’ll be traveling through warp holes, dodging and blasting down enemy fire, and rummaging through homing lasers. It all adds up in the end to create insanely intense levels.
You’ll die a lot. Like, a ton. At least in my experience. Fortunately, dying only sends you back to the start of that short second level lasting around 15 seconds, and alternatively you can hit a button to send you right back to the start if you feel your run isn’t too hot. One thing to keep in mind is that when you collect the previously-mentioned atomiks, the developers made sure that you’ll be forced to take the riskiest and most difficult path. So head into this expecting to try, try, try again. Simply making it through a level is a prize.
Visually, the game holds a really solid and distinct arcade cabinet look, with crisp pixel art electrifying the action on screen. Every explosion and moment is so well displayed thanks to the art style, so whether you’re playing or watching, you just can’t look away. The soundtrack didn’t capture my attention as much, but for sure helps compliment the overall aesthetic. Going from docked to portable mode doesn’t affect the style either, and the visuals remain outstanding either way.
Out of all the great things going on in ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun, I can’t help but ignore just one downer. Before you even know it, the ride just ends. As surprising as it is to me, despite boasting over 100 levels, the whole adventure will end before somewhat abruptly since none of them span longer than 20 seconds. There also isn’t much in the way of a story, aside from the little bit of exposition you get in between levels where characters from the games world tell you about the dilemma of their sun dying and how people are reacting. It’s just a shame when the gameplay is so addicting – I always wanted more.
ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun takes your memories of classic arcade games you used to spend all of your pockets quarters and cranks them up to 11, filling them with more explosions, dangers, and deaths than you could ever dream of. With incredibly challenging and addicting levels decorated with pulsing visuals and heavy sounds, this game exudes fun and energy. Levels that look to be just a plain pixel style come alive from the culmination of all the wonderful aspects of gameplay and visuals and create an incredibly worthwhile experience on the Switch.
If you’re looking for a nice game to add to your Switch catalog that’s an easy pick up and play, ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is perfect for that. There’s not a whole lot more than the main game – in fact, there isn’t anything else at all – but what’s there is just enough to make the whole experience worthwhile. An electrifying experience that overloads your senses by lighting up the screen in colors of explosions and gunfire while pulling up a wonderful visual style completed by addicting gameplay, ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is a wonderful blend of everything that can go right in a game like this one.
RunGunJumpGun review code provided by Good Shepard Entertainment for the purposes of this review.